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Hawthorne High Graduate Awarded STEM Scholarship

EL SEGUNDO, Calif., June 19, 2019 – The Aerospace Corporation (Aerospace) selected Ashley Carpenter, class valedictorian from Hawthorne High School, as the 2019 Dr. Wanda M. Austin STEM Scholarship winner.

She will study physics with an emphasis in aerospace at the University of California, Los Angeles this fall.

“We look forward to mentoring Ashley as a next-generation space leader as she navigates her studies and internship here at Aerospace,” said Steve Isakowitz, Aerospace president and CEO. “We are deeply committed to inspiring and supporting new engineers and scientists from diverse backgrounds who are critical to the future of our nation’s missions in space.”

Carpenter’s accomplishments are a testament to her character. A 4.0 student, Ashley worked as a middle school math tutor to help her single-parent family and volunteered for extracurricular and community activities.  

“Ashley is an exceptional young woman and we are proud of her accomplishments,” said Vanessa Landesfeind, principal of Hawthorne High School. “As our valedictorian, she is a true role model for other young women considering careers in STEM fields.”

Carpenter spends most of her time working as a mentor in the after-school program at Hawthorne Middle School and volunteering as the executive aide for her high school’s community service club, Interact District Board. In this role, she oversees the communication for more than 70 Interact Clubs throughout the South Bay. She also holds leadership positions in the Upward Bound Math and Science Program, Project ECHO (Entrepreneurial Concepts Hand On), and the Rotary Youth Leadership Assembly.

Aerospace established the Dr. Wanda M. Austin STEM Endowment Fund in 2015 to provide financial assistance for underrepresented and underprivileged high school students who demonstrate academic excellence and strong leadership skills, and plan to pursue undergraduate studies in a STEM field at a four-year college or university. Scholarship awards of up to $10,000 a year may be granted and are renewable for four years to cover college tuition and expenses. Recipients also receive a paid summer internship at Aerospace and are partnered with Aerospace employees who act as academic mentors and life coaches. The fund is sustained through employee donations, charitable organizations, and estate gifts. More information about the STEM endowment program can be found at:

About The Aerospace Corporation

The Aerospace Corporation is a national nonprofit corporation that operates a federally funded research and development center and has more than 4,600 employees. With major locations in Chantilly, Virginia; El Segundo, California; Albuquerque, New Mexico; and Colorado Springs, Colorado, Aerospace addresses complex problems across the space enterprise and other areas of national and international significance through agility, innovation, and objective technical leadership. For more information, visit Follow us on X: @AerospaceCorp.


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Dianna Ramirez
Media Relations Corporate Communications and Public Affairs Division

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